Humanitarian Crisis in the Middle East

The violence and trauma unfolding in Palestine and Israel has been profoundly devastating. We have received questions about how these events intersect with HRC’s values and work. We have and will continue to speak out against this violence, the devastating humanitarian crisis, Islamophobia and antisemitism, and increasing hate crimes here in the U.S..

The violence and trauma unfolding in Palestine and Israel has been profoundly devastating. We have seen and felt the pain and the grief gripping our communities - all of our communities. This pain and grief is further compounded by the fact that Jewish, Arab, and Muslim people in the U.S. and around the world now face escalating hate-motivated crimes.

The injustices we witness are an inextricable reminder that the fight for equality, dignity, and justice is a global fight. We are also very clear that the forces behind the rise in antisemitism and Islamophobia are the same forces that are promoting hate and extremism against our LGBTQ+ community in the US, particularly our trans community.

We have received questions about how these events intersect with HRC’s values and work. We have and will continue to speak out against this violence, the devastating humanitarian crisis, Islamophobia and antisemitism, and increasing hate crimes here in the U.S. over the past several months with statements that have lived across our social media channels, on our website, in emails to our members and supporters, in conversations, and at our gatherings. To further increase transparency, we have included many of these messages below.

For the past 20 years, HRC has led work with large corporations, which employ thousands of LGBTQ+ workers, to improve benefits and protections for LGBTQ+ workers on the job. There have also been questions regarding corporate support for our work. The Human Rights Campaign receives funding from a wide range of grants, individuals, and organizations. We want to be clear: our funding never changes our mission.

HRC’s mission is focused on advancing the civil rights of LGBTQ+ people in the United States and around the globe. Given our expertise, HRC’s work outside of the U.S. is focused on issues with a unique impact on the LGBTQ+ community, including the proliferation of anti-LGBTQ+ laws and policies around the globe. And, that is why we remain keenly focused on defeating anti-LGBTQ+ extremism and building safer, more inclusive communities to improve the lives of LGBTQ+ people.

For more information on how conflict impacts LGBTQ+ lives, visit OutRight International to access its 2023 report LGBTQ Lives in Conflict and Crisis: A Queer Agenda for Peace, Security, and Accountability.

Oct. 9, 2023: “The loss of life unfolding in the Middle East is heartbreaking and the human rights violations are appalling. Hamas killed hundreds of Israeli civilians over the weekend in a terrorist attack. And now countless more Palestinian and Israeli people are dying as the violence escalates while Jewish, Arab & Muslim people in the U.S. and around the world fear backlash & hate-motivated crimes. LGBTQ+ people are everywhere and violence against civilians, anywhere, is wrong. Our thoughts are with the people in the Middle East living through this horror.”

Oct. 13, 2023: "Starting today, we are joined by our HRC family in DC for meetings and our National Dinner. We are gathering in a moment of global crisis.

“I can’t begin to fully grasp what this moment of crisis must feel like for those who are Jewish. I can’t fully understand what it must feel like to be an Israeli or Palestinian civilian right now. As a Black queer woman, I do, however, understand the anguish of being part of a community that is repeatedly targeted. I do understand the fear and concerns of safety. It’s a pain that weighs heavily on my heart and I have deep sympathy for those experiencing such suffering right now.

“As I shared earlier this week, I am outraged by the brutal terrorist attack by Hamas, killing 1,200 Israeli civilians. The toll on both Israeli and Palestinian civilian lives rises daily. And many in the United States who are Jewish and Muslim recognize that hate-motivated bias and violence will rise here. Antisemitism is wrong. Islamophobia is wrong. Full stop.

“As we gather this week, many members of our community feel very broken right now. The world is heavy and frightening. And the future is uncertain. This violence is a reminder that the struggle for liberation against extremism, discrimination, and hate is a global struggle. It’s my struggle. It’s your struggle. It’s our struggle."

Oct. 13, 2023: “Like millions around the world, we are outraged and profoundly devastated by what’s happening in the Middle East. Our hearts ache for those who have lost loved ones.

“There is no justification for what happened. Hamas killed more than 1,200 Israeli civilians in a terrorist attack over the weekend. And the news stories of the kidnapping of Israeli children are truly horrifying. Now, countless more Israeli and Palestinian people are dying as the violence escalates. It’s clear that both Jewish and Palestinian people across the region are scared and unsafe. It’s terrifying. Here in the U.S., I've seen so many Jewish, Arab and Muslim people express concern that bias-motivated harassment and violence will increase.

“As we gather in community this week, let’s recognize that many members of our community feel very broken right now. The world is heavy and frightening. And the future is uncertain. This violence is a reminder that the struggle for liberation against extremism, discrimination and hate is a global struggle. It’s my struggle. It’s your struggle. It’s our struggle. We need to stand together, so we can all be free.”

Oct. 16, 2023: “As a mother, my heart aches for the devastating loss of a precious six-year-old child and the horrifying attack on his mother in Illinois. This act of hatred has no place in our country. We stand with our Muslim, Arab and Palestinian neighbors today and every day.” [HRC President Kelley Robinson’s tweet/post above Politico’s October 16, 2023 X post: ‘Shocked and sickened: Biden condemns killing of 6 year-old Muslim boy]

“A Palestinian child was murdered. This is a devastating reminder of the growing fear of violence facing every Muslim, Arab and Palestinian community. The same acts of hate fueled by antisemitism, racism, and transphobia. We’re not in one state of emergency. We’re in millions.” [Human Rights Campaign’s tweet/post below President Biden’s post: “Jill and I were sickened to learn of the brutal murder of a child and the child’s mother yesterday in Illinois. Our condolences and prayers are with the family. This act of hate against a Palestinian Muslim family has no place in America.”]

Oct. 20, 2023: “Over the past few weeks, our hearts have been heavy with grief and anger as news from across our country and the globe has shaken us to the core. As I connect with HRC staff across the country, I am reminded of the work being done to achieve justice and equality for all and to deepen our commitment in the face of unprecedented threats. We are unwavering in our commitment to building a safer, more inclusive world and refuse to accept one where the LGBTQ+ community, especially trans people, live under the constant threat of violence. We join in solidarity with those grieving, with those speaking out against hate, and with those demanding change. We are with you!” - Kelley J. Robinson, President, Human Rights Campaign

Oct. 21, 2023: Reposting and amplifying Rep. Elissa Slotkin on the death of Samantha Woll, a leader in Detroit’s Jewish community believed at the time to have been killed in a hate-motivated crime: “I and all of Team Slotkin are heartbroken at this news. Sam worked for me from nearly the moment I became a Congresswoman, helping us set up the office & helping to lead it for my full first term.

“She did for our team as Deputy District Director what came so naturally to her: helping others & serving constituents. Separately, in politics & in the Jewish community, she dedicated her short life to building understanding across faiths, bringing light in the face of darkness.

“My heart aches that we have lost someone so dedicated to serving others in such a senseless act. I’ll miss her relentless desire to serve & her bright smile seemingly everywhere across the Detroit area. Team Slotkin shares in the deep grief of her family & her greater community.”

Nov. 2, 2023: Remarks at the Global Innovative Advocacy Summit: “As we come together today, we cannot ignore the stark realities that confront us on a global scale. In Gaza and Israel, the situation is nothing short of a humanitarian crisis, with countless innocent civilians caught in the relentless cycle of violence, living in constant fear for their lives and the lives of their loved ones. We mourn those whose lives were taken, including in the most recent attacks on the Jabalia Refugee Camp.”

Nov. 10, 2023: “As we take stock in the progress of the last week here in the United States, we also share in collective grief on a global scale. This week the conflict between Israel and Hamas reached a heart-wrenching milestone: More than 11,000 people have been killed in Gaza in the four weeks since terrorist attacks by Hamas on Israel, killing more than 1,400 Israeli people.

“Each day of this conflict brings a new weight of grief, shock, and disbelief at the unrelenting toll of war. In times like these, it’s important to note that there are no easy answers or quick solutions.

“No statement will ever be enough in times of war. But what’s not hard, nor complex, is knowing right from wrong.

“The Hamas terrorist attack was wrong.

“The killing of 11,000 Palestinians and counting is wrong.

“The bombing of hospitals and the killing of children is wrong.

“The denial of safe food, water, telecommunications and safe passage is wrong.

“The antisemitism and Islamophobia escalating in the United States is wrong.

“If, like me, you’re witnessing what’s happening in horror and want to do something to support relief efforts, the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders are both active in the conflict zone.

“The work ahead of us is not easy, nor is it up to one person or one organization to solve. But HRC will use our platform to recognize the collective grief and humanitarian crisis that’s unfolding. And we will also call out the escalating Islamophobia and antisemitism that’s happening here in the United States.

“Hate and extremism are a global challenge — and we all have a responsibility to play our role in ensuring humanity prevails. That is our charge and I’m proud of the work our team does every day to push progress forward.”

Nov. 27, 2023: “I am shaken and disgusted by the brazen attack against Hisham Awartani, Kinnan Abdalhamid, & Tahseen Ahmed, all Palestinian college students on their way to dinner.

“Praying for a full recovery for all three students and sending all my love to them and their families.

“There must be a full investigation into this senseless attack. Hatred and Islamophobia continue to shatter lives in our communities. It’s up to all of us to speak out to end this violence.”

Dec. 18, 2023: “This weekend’s antisemitic attack at Kesher Israel Congregation and the false bomb threats against approximately 200 Jewish institutions are hate in action. Make no mistake: antisemitism, Islamophobia, transphobia, & homophobia are all rooted in hatred designed to tear us apart.”

Feb. 3, 2024: Greater New York HRC Dinner Board of Director remarks:

“Tonight, as we gather in this room filled with hope and determination, we must recognize the immense challenges that persist both near and far. The struggles faced by countless individuals around the world demand our attention, our compassion, and our unwavering commitment to human rights.

“From Gaza and Israel, where lives have been tragically taken and communities shattered, to the persecution endured by the LGBTQ community in Uganda, where love is deemed a crime punishable by death, recent attacks in Sudan, and ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the injustices we witness are a painful reminder that the fight for equality, dignity and justice is a global fight.

“What’s so clear in this moment is that hate and extremism are a global challenge — and we all have a responsibility to play our role in ensuring humanity prevails.

“Of course, this global grief is compounded with our own challenges here at home. Rising extremism against Jewish people, Muslim people, against women, against Black and AANHPI communities, and against the LGBTQ+ community is taking a devastating toll.

“As the HRC Community, we are unequivocal in the fight against bigotry, discrimination and hate. Now, more than ever, we must come together to value the principles of democracy that bind us. We raise our voices for social, racial, and economic justice, and we fight tirelessly for LGBTQ equality. We owe it to ourselves and to future generations to build a world where every person is treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“While violence and injustice persist here at home and abroad, I urge you to be kind to yourselves and each other. Find a moment to step back, even if it’s just for a breath. And remember that in times of crisis, we have each other as a community.”

Feb. 9, 2024: “I also want to note that the horrific humanitarian crisis and deaths in Gaza continue to weigh heavily on my heart, as well the increase in violence and extremism against Muslim, Jewish and Arab communities here in the United States. Just this week in Texas, Palestinian-American Zacharia Doar was dragged out of a car and stabbed in what has been deemed a hate crime after he attended a protest in support of Gaza.

“As hate and extremism rise, and we experience attacks on democracy itself, we must continue to push back.”

Mar. 1, 2024: "We are also sitting with grief for the more than 100 Palestinians who died yesterday while seeking desperately needed aid and relief.

This is another stark reminder of the immense human suffering that continues to unfold right now in the Middle East
, as the number of Palestinian lives lost reaches more than 30,000. We join the collective calls for humanitarian assistance."

Mar. 22, 2024: As we dialed up our fight for justice here at home, we grappled with heart-wrenching news developments from the Middle East. A UN study this week projected an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in Gaza, with half its population expected to face “catastrophic levels of hunger and starvation between now and July.”

The injustice of children dying from malnutrition while aid is blocked is unconscionable. The struggle for equality does not begin and end here at home – it is global.

Apr. 5, 2024: This week also brought tragedy once again on the global stage. We mourned the deaths of seven World Central Kitchen aid workers, including an American, who were killed in an Israeli air attack in the Gaza Strip. World Central Kitchen, an NGO founded by Michelin-starred chef Jose Andres and his wife in 2010, provides fresh meals to areas facing conflict or natural disasters. The United Nations has warned that Gaza is on the brink of famine, and President Biden has called for an immediate ceasefire to protect civilians and provide humanitarian aid. We join the global community in condemning these horrible attacks and demand accountability for the innocent lives lost.